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ᎣᏏᏲ Boozhoo Yá’át’ééh

Tansi Kwai kwai,nidôbak

Yá’át’ééh e:si:rasi:c?i

Shé:kon

Tansi

Boozhoo ᎣᏏᏲ

Tansi

Tansi e:si:rasi:c?i

Kwai kwai, nidôbak Yá’át’ééh Boozhoo

Hesci

Yá’át’ééh

Tan kahk

Hesci

Hesci Tan kahk

ᎣᏏᏲ

Tansi

Tan kahk

Tan kahk Boozhoo

Hesci

Shé:kon


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The Mission of Heartdrum At powwows, “the Drum� often refers to both the instrument and to the singers who surround it. The drumbeat evokes the heartbeat of the Native community, so the name Heartdrum is a tribute to that connection. Public, intertribal powwows are family-friendly, cultural events in which people of various sovereign Native Nations come together; non-Native guests are welcome, too. Likewise, the Heartdrum imprint will fully center intertribal voices and visions but also welcome all young readers. The imprint will offer a wide range of heartfelt, innovative, groundbreaking, and

unexpected stories by Native creators, informed and inspired by lived experience, with an emphasis on the present and future of Indian Country and on the strength of young Native heroes.

A message from Cynthia Leitich Smith

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XXXXX A message from Rosemary Brosnan Photo by Kate Morgan Jackson

We’re delighted to be launching the Heartdrum imprint at HarperCollins in Winter 2021. In the fall of 2018, distinguished author, teacher, and Native literature advocate Cynthia Leitich Smith approached me to ask whether if HarperCollins would like to start a Native imprint, in partnership with the We Need Diverse Books organization. Ellen Oh, acclaimed author and co-founder of We Need Diverse Books, had gone to Cynthia with the idea of establishing a Native imprint at a publishing house. Cynthia and I would co-direct the imprint; she is an enrolled member of the Muscogee Creek Nation, and I’m white and of Jewish and Irish background. Cynthia and I have worked together and have known each other for more than twenty years. Now we’re building Heartdrum, an imprint dedicated to Native and First Nations voices. “We’re focused on stories grounded in contemporary life rather than on distant history, and we center Native children and teens as heroes” — which communicates the contemporary but also acknowledges the rare recent-history exception, which stretches to modern day.

“The drumbeat evokes the heartbeat of the Native community, so the name Heartdrum is a tribute to that connection.” Finally, why did we choose the name Heartdrum? At powwows, the Drum often refers to both the instrument and to the singers who surround it. The drumbeat evokes the heartbeat of the Native community, so the name Heartdrum is a tribute to that connection. Public, intertribal powwows welcome all guests; in the Heartdrum imprint, we’ll center Native voices, but all readers are welcome. Welcome to Heartdrum. We we hope you love our books!

—Rosemary Brosnan, co-founder of

Heartdrum

Books will be published in a range of formats and genres: picture books, chapter books, middle grade and teen fiction, graphic novels for all ages, and nonfiction. The imprint will feature books by new, up-and-coming, and established Native and First Nations authors and illustrators. Cynthia will write an afterword for each book on the list, explaining why we chose to include that particular book on the Heartdrum list. We’re proud to have a partnership with the wonderful We Need Diverse Books organization, and HarperCollins is helping to fund yearly workshops for Native creators in partnership with We Need Diverse Books.

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WINTER Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids

2021 The Sea in Winter

Edited by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Muscogee Creek) Cover art by Nicole Niedhardt (Navajo)

by Christine Day (Upper Skagit) Cover art by Michaela Goade (Tlingit) From the author of I Can Make This Promise comes a tender story about a Makah/ Piscataway girl struggling to find her joy again, and the family who will protect her no matter what happens.

Featuring the voices of new and veteran Native writers, and edited by best-selling author Cynthia Leitich Smith, this collection of intersecting stories set at the same powwow bursts with hope, joy, resilience, the strength of community, and Native pride. Each story can be read individually, but read as a whole, the stories play off one another and intersect, providing a cohesive narrative.

HC ISBN: 9780062869944 Ebook ISBN: 9780062869968 Digital Audio: 9780063063600

ON SALE: February 9, 2021

Jingle Dancer

by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Muscogee Creek) Illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu

PB ISBN: 9780063018112

The warm, evocative watercolors of Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu complement author Cynthia Leitich Smith’s lyrical text in this picture book that was first published in 2000. Jenna loves the tradition of jingle dancing that has been shared by generations of women in her family, and she hopes to dance at the next powwow. But with the day quickly approaching, she has a problem—how will her dress sing if it has no jingles?

ON SALE: February 9, 2021

ON SALE: January 5, 2021

HC IBSN: 9780062872043 Ebook ISBN: 9780062872067 Digital Audio: 9780063063440

Indian Shoes

by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Muscogee Creek) Cover art by Sharon Irla (Cherokee) Interior art by MaryBeth Timothy (Cherokee)

PB ISBN: 9780064421485 Ebook ISBN: 9780063049871

First published in 2002, this is a repackage with new cover and interior art. Bestselling author Cynthia Leitich Smith tells six stories about a Cherokee-Seminole boy and his grandfather in a chapter book full of humor and love.

ON SALE: February 9, 2021

Rain Is Not My Indian Name

Edited by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Muscogee Creek) Cover art by Natasha Donovan (Métis)

PB ISBN: 9780380733002 Ebook ISBN: 9780063049826

First published in 2001, this is a repackage with new cover art. In a voice that resonates with insight and humor, Cynthia Leitich Smith tells the story of a Muscogee Creek-Cherokee and Ojibwe girl who must face down her grief and reclaim her place in the world with the help of her intertribal community.

ON SALE: February 9, 2021

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NOT FINAL

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The Sea in Winter Copyright © 2021 by Christine Day All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. For information address HarperCollins Children’s Books, a division of HarperCollins Publishers, 195 Broadway, New York, NY 10007. www.harpercollinschildrens.com Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data [TK] ISBN 978-0-06-287204-3 Typography by Sarah Nichole Kaufman and Catherine San Juan 20 21 22 23 24 PC/LSCH 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 v First Edition

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Dear Reader, This book is a love letter to the young, the struggling, and the lonely. It’s a story about starting over. It’s about longing for your life to go back to normal. Feeling scared or uncertain about the future. Feeling far away from your friends. Carrying pain. And learning to live with and recover from trauma. When I set out to write this book, I often wondered if I was the right person to do this. I wondered if I was skilled enough to create this quiet, emotionally driven plot. I worried that the story might be too sad. I worried that it might not be sad enough. I worried that the stakes would feel too low, or that Maisie’s journey would seem too slow. I worried that not enough kids would relate to her loneliness. And, of course, I worried that too many kids might understand how she’s feeling. As I crafted this story, I was unsure of every page. But I still finished the book. Then something unprecedented happened. As I write this letter, the global COVID-19 pandemic has forced millions of people into isolation. I haven’t left my house in ten days. Each day, I grapple with my own loneliness and despair for

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HC DESIGN APPROVED FOR

BOUND GALLEY

By Lee, Jack at 5:06 pm, Jun 15, 2020

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the world. For the families who have lost loved ones. For the kids who feel far away from their friends. For this collective generation of people, who must learn to live with and recover from this mass trauma. These are uncertain times. I have no idea how different the world will be by the time Maisie’s story is released. I have no idea how heavy our hearts will be. All I know for sure is this: I’m not worried about this book anymore. Because at the end of the day, it’s just a book. There isn’t enough space in my head or my heart to worry about these words, when so many lives and livelihoods are at stake. I’ve made my peace with the reality that my work is “nonessential” in our society. Nevertheless, I hope that this love letter will find its way to those who are looking for it. And I can only hope that it helps. Because that’s all I really set out to do with this book. In some small way, I wanted to help. Sincerely, Christine Day

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To anyone who needs a reminder that pain is temporary.

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1 SANCTUARY February 15 I’m late to homeroom. Not because my bus was running behind schedule, or because my knee was flaring up again, or because of any other reasonable explanation. I walk into homeroom six minutes after the bell, because I couldn’t force myself to come straight here. I couldn’t walk in this direction. Couldn’t follow the same path I go down every day. My classmates are journaling at their desks. Several heads snap up as the heavy door latches shut behind me, as I hurry to my seat in the middle of the room. Curious gazes cut back and forth

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between me and the clock. Ms. Porter looks up from her own journal entry to beam at me and say, “Welcome, Maisie.” I drop into the cramped desk. Slender metal bars attach from the tabletop to the chair to the shiny tiled floor. Rooting the desk to this particular place. I fumble with my book bag. Pencil tips whisper against paper all around me, a gentle contrast to the coarse rip of my book bag’s zipper, the obnoxious clacking of its buckles. Seven minutes after the bell, I finally slap my composition notebook down on my desk and read the prompt on the whiteboard. Ms. Porter changes it every day. She shares quotes from famous novels, random facts about nature, or sometimes even song lyrics. Today, she has shared this word and its definitions:

Sanctuary A place of refuge or safety; a place of protection from danger or a difficult situation. A nature reserve; a refuge for wildlife. A holy or sacred place; a building or room for religious worship. Synonyms: haven, harbor, retreat, shelter, immunity, asylum. 2

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I stare at the words. Flip to the next open space in my notebook. Pause, with my pencil hovering above the blank page. I never really know how to begin these entries. Ms. Porter always tells us to be creative and open and free, to write or draw or spill whatever we’re feeling, as we feel it. She never reads what we write; there are no grades in homeroom, just attendance and participation points. It’s also our only fifteen-minute period, which means that I have about eight minutes left to do this. Sanctuary. I write the word across the top of the page. Underline it twice. Hesitate. And then, in a messier scrawl, I write: My ballet school has always been my sanctuary. I stare at this sentence. Tap my eraser against my chin. Suck in a deep breath and continue on: In the studio, I don’t have to worry about anything else that’s happening in my life, or in the world around me. From there, the words flow through me. I describe the bright, airy space in my favorite studio. The mirror-lined wall, the tall ceiling, the wide windows. The aluminum barres, the grand piano in the corner, the squeaky pearl-gray floors. The openness of it. The peacefulness of it. 3

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I describe what it’s like to dance in a room like that. To move through the sweeping gestures of a grand port de bras, the aching lift of an arabesque. To spin and step and reach as the piano notes pinwheel all around you. From the front of the room, Ms. Porter claps and says, “Okay, students. Can I have your attention up here, please?” I stop writing. Lean back as much as this rigid chair will let me. Ms. Porter smiles. “It’s Friday,” she says. “And next week is midwinter break, so I won’t see you all for a while. I hope you stay warm, happy, and healthy during your time off. Take care and have fun.” The shrill bell rings, and the classroom breaks into a flurry. I look down at the words I’ve written, feeling the yearning pull of them, like a fishhook in my stomach. Then I close the notebook. Shove it inside my book bag. Stand up to join the stampede toward the door. “Maisie!” Ms. Porter waves me down. “Maisie, can I have a word with you?” I swallow. Extract myself from the chaotic 4

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rush out the door. Meet her gaze. She offers me a small smile and asks, “Did your bus driver give you a late pass?” I shake my head. In an instant, the other students are gone, swept away in the roaring tide of voices and slamming lockers and sneaker squeaks down the hallway outside. And it’s just me and Ms. Porter, standing in the awkward, muffled quiet of her empty classroom. “Is your knee okay?” “It’s fine,” I say automatically. “Okay. Good.” She gives an apologetic wince and says, “I have to report your unexcused tardiness.” I nod. Fidget slightly under her gaze. “Try to get here a little earlier, okay? If it happens again this semester, I’ll be required to give you an after-school detention. It’s school policy.” I nod again. “I know, ma’am.” “All right. Have a good midwinter break.” She moves toward her desk, and I turn to leave the classroom. But before I step through the doorway, she says: “And Maisie? If you ever want to talk—if something else is bothering you, or if you need 5

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extra help with anything—I’m here. The school counselors are here. We all just want to see you succeed. You know that, right?” I tell her, “I know.” Even though I don’t plan on talking to her. Or to anyone at this school, really. She grins, oblivious. “I’m so glad. I’m always rooting for you.”

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2 CARRY THE X February 15 By the end of the day, I’m frazzled and exhausted. I wedge my way through the sea of students, between the locker-lined buildings and concrete pillars. The walls around us are cluttered with construction paper posters, marker-drawn announcements for spring sports tryouts, and Black History Month events. Blinds are shuttered over the classroom windows. We shuffle past the small and quiet library, which is where I used to spend most of my free time, until that day in November when I heard rodents scurrying around 7

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in the ceiling above me. I was still on my crutches then, but it didn’t matter. I managed to sprint out of there. The crowd pushes me out and away from the campus, and down the row of idling yellow buses. Their exhaust pipes rattle as they wait for us. The smell of bus fumes fills the clear air. My book bag is heavy, the diagonal strap digging awkwardly against my shoulder. I’m surrounded by bulging backpacks and loud voices and people who laugh as they shove one another. I keep my head down, keep inching my way forward. An eighth grader in a football jersey lurches against my side, and I mumble an apology a split second after he’s gone. I tug at the fingers of my fuzzy pink mittens. I keep moving, careful not to make eye contact with anyone. Careful not to do much of anything. I find bus 185. As I climb aboard, the thrum of the engine tickles the soles of my feet. The back of the bus is already packed with people. A boy in the last row is dribbling a soccer ball on his knees. He bounces it in a repetitive rhythm, a quick swooping arc as he pitches the ball into the air. I move past a girl seated with her head down, 8

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thick-padded headphones on, her music turned loud enough for me to hear the shrieking lyrics. I reach my own empty seat and slide across the mud-colored vinyl. My book bag hits the floor with a thud. I unbuckle its pouch, reaching for my cell phone. As I pick through the mess of loose papers, snack bar wrappers, and composition notebooks, I glimpse my graded math test. The one I just received in my last class period. I barely looked at it when Ms. Finch placed it on my desk. But now, in the privacy of my bus seat, I can’t help but stare. Red dashes are scribbled all over the top sheet. The number 70 is circled beside my name with a C-. Arrows point between numbers. Answers have been crossed out. Beside the third question, Ms. Finch wrote: Carry the x. Beside the fifth: You forgot to balance the equation. Shame prickles along my skin like goose bumps. I stuff the stapled sheets deeper inside my book bag, wincing as the papers crumple. I grab my phone. Let the book bag drop. Take a deep breath. There are three unread messages. Two are from Eva. The other is from Mom. I remove the 9

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mitten on my right hand to swipe my thumb across the touch screen, unlocking them. Mom: Hi, sweetie! Don’t forget you have a PT appt this afternoon. I’ve prepped some snacks for you and Connor, so check the fridge if you’re hungry. Veggies and turkey sandwiches. Mrs. Baransky will be over soon to watch him until Jack comes home (he’s running late today, we both are, so much to do before our big trip!). Hope you had a great day at school. See you soon! Be safe walking home! Love you! Eva: Just got here for the Jillana School audition. Wish me luck! Eva: Also, Taylor says hi. J I respond to Eva first by typing, Good luck at the audition. You’re going to be great. Give Taylor a hug from me. And then I tell Mom, See you soon. Love you too. The bus doors flap shut, and we start to rumble forward. We jostle over speed bumps. We sway through sharp turns. The inside of this bus is humid, and the windows are foggy, so I open mine about an inch, relishing the cold snap of fresh air. The sky is covered in gray cotton 10

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clouds. The pavement outside is stained with wet spots that look like inkblots. It’s starting to rain again. Tiny droplets splatter across the windows. The water streaks are short and thin as paper cuts. I turn my phone over. Light up the screen, to see if Eva has said anything else about the audition. She hasn’t. She might be in the studio right now with a number pinned to her leotard, grinning through the barre warm-ups to impress the Jillana School representatives. I should be there, too. We bump over ridges and uneven slabs in the road. The engine roars as we accelerate around a bend.

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3 NOTHING EVER CHANGES February 15 I rise and exit the bus. I thank the bus driver on my way out, as I always do. When my feet hit the sidewalk, I feel a tingle in my right knee, but I ignore it and move faster. Raindrops pitter-patter along the sidewalk. Parked cars crowd the narrow street. A pink balloon is tied to someone’s mailbox, bobbing and tugging through the air. I pull the edges of my beanie more firmly onto my forehead. Everything is gleaming and shivering from the drizzle. Dewdrops cling to the 12

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ends of bare skinny branches. Little waterfalls trickle through the sewer grates down the street. When I first began taking ballet classes, we used to dance with colorful scarves. We’d spin around the studio with them clutched in our fists. We’d float them above our heads in port de bras. And at the end of each class, our teacher would gather them up and pile them in the center of the floor. She told us to pretend they were puddles. We had to jump over them, to avoid getting our ballet slippers wet. Then the piano music would start to play, and she’d clap to the beat for us as we would each skip, skip, skip, and leap across the imaginary puddle. I wish I could go back in time. I miss how dancing made me feel. So creative and expressive. So quick and light on my feet. I always had fun at my ballet school. There were never any bad days. Until that final day, of course. I trudge across the street. Cross our skinny front yard. Our neighbors might call our place Mr. and Mrs. Leith’s house, which would be both right and wrong. Mom and Jack are married, and Jack’s last name is Leith. But Mom kept 13

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her maiden name—Beaumont—through her two marriages. Each person in my family has a different surname: Angie Beaumont, Jack Leith, Maisie Cannon, and Connor Beaumont-Leith. Our grass is overgrown and wet. Political picket signs are anchored throughout the yard. Some of them are for candidates in local elections. Others are for causes: No human is illegal. Water is life. Protect Mother Earth. All of them are boldfaced, bold-colored. Streaked with raindrops. I slog past them with my head bowed, the grass squishing beneath my feet.

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r E D I T E D BY CYNT HIA LEIT ICH SMIT H

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Heartdrum is an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids “What Is a Powwow?” © 2021 by Kim Rogers “Fancy Dancer” © 2021 by Monique Gray Smith “Flying Together” © 2021 by Kim Rogers “Warriors of Forgiveness” © 2021 by Tim Tingle “Brothers” © 2021 by David A. Robertson “Rez Dog Rules” © 2021 by Rebecca Roanhorse “Secrets and Surprises” © 2021 by Traci Sorell “Wendigos Don’t Dance” © 2021 by Art Coulson “Indian Price” © 2021 by Eric Gansworth “Senecavajo: Alan’s Story” © 2021 by Brian Young “Squash Blossom Bracelet: Kevin’s Story” © 2021 by Brian Young “Joey Reads the Sky” © 2021 by Dawn Quigley “What We Know About Glaciers” © 2021 by Christine Day “Little Fox and the Case of the Missing Regalia” © 2021 by Erika T. Wurth “The Ballad of Maggie Wilson” © 2021 by Andrea L. Rogers “Bad Dog” © 2021 by Joseph Bruchac “Between the Lines” © 2021 by Cynthia Leitich Smith “Circles” © 2021 by Carole Lindstrom All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. Manufactured in China. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. For information address HarperCollins Children’s Books, a division of HarperCollins Publishers, 195 Broadway, New York, NY 10007. www.harpercollinschildrens.com Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data [TK] Library of Congress Control Number: ISBN 978-0-06-286994-4 Typography by Molly Fehr 21 22 23 24 25 XXXXXX 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 v First Edition

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FOREWORD

r I

magine you’re attending an intertribal powwow. Maybe it’s your first time. Maybe your family has been on the powwow trail for generations. You might make new friends or reunite with old ones. In line for fry bread, you could strike up a conversation with a vendor and buy a key chain from them later that day. From the bleachers, you could admire a dancer’s shawl and, that night, recognize her wearing everyday clothes on the way home. Through stories, poetry, and visual art, the contributors to this anthology coordinated their efforts—via phone calls, emails, texts, and an online task board—to reflect the interconnectedness of the powwow experience. We’ve filled this book with memorable characters . . . some of whom know each other, some of whom don’t, and all of whom are pleased to welcome you.

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FLYING TOGETHER Kim Rogers

r T

he time on my smartphone read oh four hundred (0400). It was still too early for a rooster to crow. I’d been awake the whole night thinking that if I stayed awake for that long, morning wouldn’t come and Mom wouldn’t be leaving again. Grandpa Lou peeked his head into my room. The brightness from the hallway spilled into my eyes. I shielded them with my hand as I sprang upright in the blinding light. “Oh good. You’re up, Jessie girl,” said Grandpa Lou in a singsong voice. Grandpa Lou never had a problem getting up at any hour—joyfully. “I’ve made breakfast, if you’re hungry. Get it while it’s hot.” The smell of sausage and french toast wafted into my

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Kim Rogers

room, trying to draw me out like a giant invisible “come here” finger, but it wasn’t working. I’d already lost my appetite—ever since Mom told me the news. Grandpa Lou closed the door. I threw off my covers. My feet felt like boulders dangling from the side of the bed. I wrapped a blanket around my shivering shoulders, then stumbled toward the window. Stars still sprinkled the velvety Oklahoma sky. Maybe, just maybe, the sun wouldn’t come up and Mom wouldn’t have to go. And maybe today wasn’t January 5, the day that I’d been dreading for weeks. I got dressed and combed my messy hair. In the foyer, Mom’s overstuffed green duffel bags stood at attention, ready to march out the door. I staggered around like a seventh-grade zombie girl, hoping I was dreaming. Everyone else flittered frantically around the house. Grandpa Lou loaded the last of the breakfast dishes into the dishwasher at a rapid-fire pace. Our little dog Fritz zipped behind Mom from room to room, because even he knew. His metallic tag jingle-jangled with his every step. It sounded like a sleigh at Christmastime, but this was no holiday celebration. Mom, aka Captain Vanessa Stephenson, was going on another deployment to the Middle East. She was

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Flying Together

leaving me at home with Grandpa Lou and Fritz to fend for ourselves— All over again. Don’t get me wrong. Grandpa Lou is the best grandpa ever. And Fritz is a great pup because he likes to cuddle with me when I’m sick or sad or even happy. He’s the best doggie in the whole wide world. Well, except when he tinkles on the floor and makes Mom yell and she threatens to ship him off to the moon. Before Mom’s socks get soaked, Grandpa Lou usually cleans up Fritz’s tinkles first. He made me an honorary member of the official pee patrol. Fritz is a good name for a dog like him. His bladder is definitely on the fritz 24/7. Even though he’s technically still a puppy because he’s not yet one year old, we’re hoping he’ll get an A in potty training soon. Besides Mom, Grandpa Lou is my superhero. He came to live with us after my parents got divorced and Grandma Grace passed away. He helps me and Mom and keeps us company, and we do the same for him. We all stay less lonely that way. Plus, he gives me hugs and makes me laugh. One time he made me laugh so hard that Dr Pepper flew right out of my nose. That stuff burns like fire. I so wish that I was drinking milk that day. My friend Dylan Jones said that Kool-Aid isn’t so bad coming out your nose

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Kim Rogers

either, but only if it’s not red. “Red stuff coming out your nose will freak your mother out,” he’d said. Grandpa Lou makes the best fry bread in all of Indian Country; it’s my great-grandma’s recipe. He’s teaching me how to make my own. It requires no measuring cups. “Just eyeballing it,” he says. We like to eat our fry bread with ham hocks and beans or our favorite way, with powdered sugar like a giant doughnut. Sometimes Grandpa Lou pokes a hole in the middle of the dough before he fries it. “Like a real doughnut,” I told him. He winked. “Yeah, a Wichita doughnut.” Grandpa Lou and I always laugh and eat. Fry bread. Fry bread. Fry bread. Mostly while Mom is working late. Powdered sugar sprinkles our shirts like fresh-fallen snow. Fritz even gets a bite or two of Wichita doughnut and licks the snowy sugar off the floor. Grandpa Lou is a big kid in disguise. Mom said he never grew up. Grandpa Lou is six foot two, with wavy saltand-pepper hair. He takes me to places like the amusement park, then he rides the roller coaster with me and makes me sit up front, where he screams the loudest. Everyone stares, but he doesn’t care. Like Mom, he served in the military. Grandpa Lou was a sailor in the US Navy, where he says he sailed the seven seas. Sometimes he sings a silly song about it.

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Flying Together

But there’s something I haven’t seen him do in a while: Dance at a powwow. “I’ll just watch,” he always says as he stays stuck to his lawn chair at our Wichita Tribal Dance each August. Mom can no longer get him to dance the Veterans’ Song. “My legs are too old,” he says. “Excuses, excuses,” says Mom, shaking her head. “You’re not that old.” “We Elders aren’t spring chickens. I’m more of a winter chicken.” “A fall chicken,” Mom says. But Mom and I both know that age isn’t the real problem. In a few months, Grandpa Lou is taking me to the University of Michigan Ann-Arbor powwow. Mom graduated from U of M and had hoped to visit with a few old friends who live in town. We’d planned this trip long before we knew she was deploying. I’ll be dancing in the Fancy Shawl competition for the first time at this powwow without Mom to cheer me on. I’ve only competed at the Wichita Dance. But my other mission is to get Grandpa Lou to dance. He just doesn’t know it yet. I’m sad that Mom won’t be there to see it. Mom graduated from U of M and had hoped to visit with a few old friends who live in town. “Hey, Jessie girl,” said Grandpa Lou, grabbing his travel

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Kim Rogers

coffee mug. “You ready?” We were headed to Tinker Air Force Base to drop Mom off for her deployment. Grandpa Lou was wearing his Thunder team baseball cap, a black T-shirt, and faded blue jeans. I guess you could say he was one hip grandpa. Not the kind who wears black socks with shorts to the grocery store. Mom came rushing down the hallway in her tan flight suit—the one she wears when she’s deploying overseas. Stateside flight suits are green like her duffel bags. Her ebony hair was braided in a tight bun, just above the collar as per air force regulations. “Jess, do me a favor, please, and let the dog out,” she said. She slung one of her bags over her shoulder and hurried out the front door. Grandpa Lou grabbed the other bag and followed her to his king cab truck, closing the front door behind them. “Okay, little dog. Time to go outside. You can’t leave tinkles on the floor, even with Mom going away. It’s not nice.” But Fritz wasn’t listening. Even wearing his warm sweater, he wasn’t a fan of going outside on wintry mornings. He jingle-jangled over to the window near the front door and peeked out at Mom and Grandpa Lou in the driveway. He cocked his ears to the side and whimpered. “Oh, you stop that right now, Fritz. She’ll be back

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before you know it,” I said, trying to convince myself. Fritz’s whimpering had turned into a bark. It echoed through the house. I looked around. The house was already so empty, and Mom hadn’t even left the driveway. Her Wichita and Affiliated Tribes mug sat on the kitchen countertop—empty too. I wasn’t sure how I could get through another three months without her. Mom being late wasn’t an option, and I’d had it with that little dog. I put on my coat and gloves and marched him right into the backyard. He ran to the fence, where he stood peering through the slats, sniffing and snorting like a miniature bull as Mom and Grandpa Lou finished loading the truck. “Get to it, mister,” I said, jumping up and down, trying to generate heat. Then I went back inside so that I could give him some privacy and unthaw my frozen toes. Ten seconds later, I heard a scratch at the back door. Did he really do his business that fast? Goofy dog. As we left our neighborhood in the Oklahoma City suburbs, porch lights glowed while everyone else was still sleeping. On the highway, we passed lit-up fast-food restaurants, frost-covered trees, then Frontier City Theme Park. Under an inky morning sky, the Ferris wheel was all aglow in flashing changing colors. Red. Blue. Green. Yellow.

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But there were no signs of human life anywhere, except for one SUV that sped past Grandpa Lou’s truck. “The only people out at this hour are medical people,” said Grandpa Lou. “Yeah, and military members,” said Mom. She had to be right. There were many early mornings when she had to be at Tinker to fly an “out and back”— military talk for a daylong mission. I imagined all the people in scrubs and uniforms driving the highway every morning before dawn—real-life superheroes like Mom and Grandpa Lou. All three of us yawned in unison as we passed the twinkling skyline of downtown Oklahoma City. When we got to Tinker Air Force Base, we stopped for a security check. The military policeman saluted Mom; then we drove through the gate. In a base parking lot, Grandpa Lou tried to help Mom with her bags, but this time she insisted on carrying them all herself. A bus puttered nearby. The exhaust made it look like a snarling dragon in the dark. Through the illuminated windows, I could see several uniformed people boarding and some sitting in seats. The bus would take airmen to the flight line. (Even women are called airmen.) My mom is a pilot, and she would be flying an AWACS plane from Oklahoma to the Middle East with a full crew.

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Mom set her bags on the pavement, and we hugged and kissed her goodbye. But I wasn’t about to let her see me cry. I bit my lip as she hurried toward the bus. Grandpa Lou put his arm around me. Then Mom stopped for a moment. “Hey, Jess, I can’t wait to eat some of your fry bread when I get home. You’ll make some for me, right?” I nodded. Grandpa Lou gave me a sideways glance. “It will be your turn to fly solo soon.” I wasn’t ready for all this flying solo stuff. Not with fry bread. Not at a powwow. Not getting Grandpa Lou to dance. Not doing all that without Mom. As we were leaving Tinker, the sun hadn’t even come up yet, and Mom was already gone. We drove back to a lonely house, where a giant puddle greeted us in the foyer. “Fritz!” Grandpa Lou and I both yelled. The months before the powwow flew by faster than I’d imagined. Grandpa Lou and I kept ourselves busy. My weekdays were filled with school and way too much homework. And in front of Mom’s oversize dresser mirror, I practiced the Fancy Shawl steps Cousin Nora taught me, worried that I’d mess up come powwow time. Grandpa Lou’s weekdays were filled with adding more beadwork to my moccasins, watching his sci-fi shows on Netflix, and taking lots of naps.

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Weekends were busy too but sometimes sad. One Sunday we drove to Anadarko, Oklahoma, and visited Grandma Grace’s grave, where we left her favorite yellow daisies for her birthday. Another time we drove there just because. I missed her so much. I also hung out with my best friend, Rachel Ramirez, watching horror movies and scarfing down pizza. Sometimes Grandpa Lou watched those movies along with us, always hiding his face behind a throw pillow during the really scary parts. We kept in touch with Mom on Skype. She said she was keeping busy flying missions and that she missed us, even Fritz. We didn’t tell her that he was still getting an F in potty training. Grandpa Lou continued giving me fry bread lessons. Then one Saturday he said, “It’s all you now.” I got five handfuls of flour and added this and that, poured in hot water, mixed and kneaded, let it rise, and fried up the dough. He took a few bites. No smiles. No response. Only the sound of sizzling oil cooling on the stovetop. Then he finally said, “Your great-grandmother would be proud.” I exhaled, hoping Mom would feel the same when she got home.

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Then the day came for Grandpa Lou and me to leave for the powwow. I packed a suitcase with some clothing, my favorite pj’s, and colorful Fancy Shawl regalia. I ran my fingers over my newly beaded moccasins. Grandpa Lou was one talented grandpa. I hoped he would teach me to bead soon. On the way to the airport, we dropped off Fritz at the kennel. I narrowed my eyes at him. “You be a good pup.” But he was so excited, he tinkled everywhere. At Will Rogers World Airport, Grandpa Lou left his truck in the long-term lot. He grabbed a cup of coffee after our security check. “I need something to keep me awake,” he said. When they called for boarding, he chugged it down as fast as he could. On the plane, Grandpa Lou snored the whole way to Michigan. And I mean snored. Drooled big and everything. I had to wake him a few times because even people on the ground probably heard him. He has a thing called sleep apnea and usually wears an oxygen mask to help him breathe when he’s sleeping. It makes him sound like Darth Vader. When he fell asleep again, I took a quick pic to send to Rachel on Snapchat. I captioned it, “Snoozin’ Grandpa.” Right before we landed in Detroit, I shook Grandpa Lou awake again.

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On the ground, I hit send to Rachel. She responded with five smiley emojis with some hearts and zzzz’s. Grandpa Lou drove our rental car to the hotel. Later that night, he picked up on his snoring where he’d left off on the plane. I woke him and made sure he put on his Darth Vader mask. It wasn’t until after midnight when I finally caught my own z’s. From the free breakfast, Grandpa Lou had saved me cereal and a cinnamon roll so I could sleep in, and he went downstairs to read the paper. After I ate a late breakfast and Grandpa Lou sipped his coffee, a brilliant blue sky greeted us on the way to the powwow. Squinting at the puffy clouds, I thought of Mom somewhere above, flying sorties that kept the US and our Native Nations within its borders safe. When we arrived at the gym, a few dancers were slipping on regalia over their shorts and tees behind open car trunks and SUV hatches. The cold air gave me goose bumps, so I decided to head to the girls’ locker room. On my way there, a little dog wearing a T-shirt that said Ancestor Approved greeted me. He rolled over, and I gave him a good ol’ belly rub. I wondered how tinkling Fritz was doing at the kennel.When I came out looking for Grandpa, the gym echoed with all the familiar sounds of a powwow—tink,

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2

tink of jingles, clink, clink of bell bands, and buzz, buzz of excited voices. Grandpa spotted me. “Let’s go!” he said. “It’s about to start.” We bolted to the registration table. Dancers were lining up, ready to enter the arena. Before I could blink, the announcement came for Grand Entry. The drum thumped, thumped, thumped. The drummers sang, “Hey yah. Hey yah. Yah hey. Yah hey.” I took my place behind the other dancers. When the song started, I danced into the arena, scanning the crowd and wishing that somehow Mom would be there. Afterward, I took a seat next to Grandpa Lou in the bottom bleachers. He leaned over. “Nature calls. I’ll be right back. Too much coffee.” The Veterans’ Song started to play, and an invitation was announced for all those who’d served our country to come to the arena. I sank in my seat. Grandpa Lou would miss it. Men danced in street clothes and regalia. Women danced in regalia, and street clothes with fringed shawls. But the song played long, and Grandpa Lou was back. “Now it’s your turn,” I said. “Let them honor you.” He shook his head. “I’m too old.” “No way,” I said. “Look at all the Elders out there. You

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can do it, too. What do they have that you don’t?” “Energy.” My eyes watered because I thought he’d never dance again. But Grandpa Lou saw how sad I was. A huge grin spread across his face. “For you,” he said. Then he got up and entered the arena, where he danced with all the other heroes just like him. For the rest of the day, he didn’t stop smiling. “Did you see me?” he said. I nodded, trying not to laugh. I knew the real reason why Grandpa Lou didn’t want to dance. All this time he was still grieving. One year of sitting out had turned into almost three. “Grandma Grace would be so proud,” I said, then gave him a side hug. Grandpa Lou’s voice cracked. “I know she would.” When the announcement came for Girls Fancy Shawl, my heart raced and sweat trickled from my temples to my beaded earrings. “I don’t think I can do this. What if I get the steps wrong? I don’t think I’ll win. I’ve only done this a few times. I . . . I . . . I can’t do it without Mom.” “Breathe,” said Grandpa Lou. “You got this. If a winter chicken can dance with these old chicken legs, surely you can dance with your spring ones. It’s not about winning. It’s about flying.”

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Grandpa Lou always knew the right thing to say. Calm washed over me, and I knew I could do this. I even felt Grandma Grace with me. I’m sure Grandpa Lou felt her, too. I stepped into arena with the other dancers to await the drum song. With all my heart and soul, I danced. Even though Mom wasn’t there, I danced. Even if I wasn’t going to win, I danced. Even though I was scared, I danced. I twirled and swirled my shimmering shawl round and round like a beautiful butterfly to the beat of the drum. In Grandpa Lou’s beaded moccasins, I stomped my feet like Cousin Nora taught me. Flying solo didn’t feel so lonely after all. We were really flying together in spirit. One spirit. When the dance ended, I headed back to Grandpa Lou, trying to catch my breath. “I knew you could do it!” he said. “And I knew you could do it, too.” “If only Mom could have seen us flying.” I sighed. We watched the next few categories, the gym humhum-humming with dance and song, and both of us still grinning. Then I heard a familiar voice. “You’ll make me some fry bread when we get home, right, Jess?” “Mom!”

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Grandpa Lou and I leaped from our seats and ran to her. She was dressed in her flight suit, arms open wide. We all embraced in one family-size hug. Mom and I cried while Grandpa Lou just laughed. “What are you doing here?” I asked, wiping tears. “Our deployment was cut short. We came back on commercial flights. Couldn’t miss being here. I’m just sad I missed your category, Jess.” “You missed the best part.” That’s when I told her all about Grandpa Lou. “Your grandma Grace would be proud,” she said as she winked at Grandpa Lou. Then she gave him another hug. Now, the three of us were grinning. Dancers stomped and swirled in rainbows of colors as we watched the rest of the powwow together—one happy family. Well, except for Fritz. But we’d all be home together soon. In the kitchen, powdered sugar would be sprinkled all over our shirts from the fry bread I’d make Mom and Grandpa Lou. We’d give Fritz a few bites of our Wichita doughnut, and he’d lick the snowy sugar off the floor. And someday he’d finally earn his A.

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XXXXX Sisters of the Neversea COMING SOON! by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Muscogee Creek) Cover art by Floyd Cooper (Muscogee Creek)

In this modern take on Peter Pan, award-winning author Cynthia Leitich Smith shifts the focus from the boy who won’t grow up to English Wendy and Muscogee Creek Lily— stepsisters who must face both dangers and wonders to the family and community they love

SUMMER

2021

Jo Jo Makoons: The Used-To-Be Best Friend

HC ISBN: 9780062869975 • Ebook ISBN: 9780062869999

Healer of the Water Monster

by Dawn Quiqley (Ojibwe) Illustrated by Tara Audibert (Wolastoqey)

by Brian Young (Navajo) Cover art by Shonto Begay (Navajo)

The first book in a chapter book series about a spunky young Ojibwe girl who loves who she is, written by American Indian Youth Literature Honorwinning author Dawn Quigley, and illustrated by artist Tara Audibert.

Cover Art Not Final

HC ISBN: 9780063015371 • PB ISBN: 9780063015388 Ebook ISBN: 9780063015395

Brian Young’s debut novel, inspired by Navajo beliefs, features a seemingly ordinary Navajo boy who must save the life of a Water Monster—and help his uncle suffering from addiction— by discovering his own bravery and boundless love.

HC ISBN: 9780062990402 • Ebook ISBN: 9780062990426

We Need Diverse Books is a grassroots organization of children’s book lovers that advocates essential changes in the publishing industry to produce and promote literature that reflects and honors the lives of all young people. It is our mission to put more books featuring diverse characters in the hands of all children. You can learn more about WNDB programs at www.diversebooks.org. The We Need Diverse Books Native Fund was established to support Native and First Nations creatives in bringing authentic Indigenous stories to the pub lishing industry and books for young readers. The Native Fund supports programs like the annual Native Children’s and YA Writing Intensive, which offers artistic and professional development programming.

XXXXX


ᎣᏏᏲ Boozhoo Yá’át’ééh

Tansi Kwai kwai,nidôbak

Yá’át’ééh e:si:rasi:c?i

Tansi

Yá’át’ééh

Tan kahk

Tansi

ᎣᏏᏲ

Tan kahk

Tan kahk Boozhoo

Shé:kon ᎣᏏᏲ Tansi Hesci

ᎣᏏᏲ Shé:kon Hesci

Shé:kon Yá’át’ééh Boozhoo

Hesci Kwai kwai,nidôbak ᎣᏏᏲ Yá’át’ééh Boozhoo Hesci Tansi Hesci Tansi e:si:rasi:c?i Boozhoo The words on the cover translate to a message of WELCOME in many languages represented in the Heartdrum imprint. ᎣᏏᏲ: osiyo (Cherokee); Kwai kwai, nidôbak (Abenaki); Shé:kon (Mohawk); Tan kahk (Wolastoqey); e:si:rasi:c?i (Wichita); Tansi (Cree); Hesci (Muscogee); Yá’át’ééh (Navajo); Boozhoo (Ojibwe)

Profile for HarperCollins

Heartdrum Brochure  

Welcome to Heartdrum! This new imprint from HarperCollins Children's Books centers contemporary Native and First Nation stories to uplift vo...

Heartdrum Brochure  

Welcome to Heartdrum! This new imprint from HarperCollins Children's Books centers contemporary Native and First Nation stories to uplift vo...

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